BENGALURU: The People’s Union for Civil Liberties has called on the Madanayakanahalli police and the owners of Shahi Exports Pvt Ltd (Unit 8) to take immediate action in the case of an alleged assault by the factory management on 12 garment workers. In a statement, PUCL said the incident took place a few weeks ago when the management is said to have targeted workers who had led the signing of a petition demanding better working conditions.
“In earlier investigations, we have found that physical, verbal and sexual harassment is routine on the factory floor. Harassment is strongly linked with the high levels of surveillance and punitive action by the management. This creates hostile environments of factories in Bengaluru that prevents workers from asking for basic changes in their working conditions, be it in terms of workload, compensation, environment, or even adequate functioning of harassment committees,” the statement said.
According to PUCL, the incident occurred just after a meeting by the Karnataka Garment Workers Association (KGWA) was conducted for workers of the factory where working conditions and other issues were discussed. “KGWA drafted a request to the general manager for time to discuss these issues. When the general manager did not agree, the workers drafted a petition, signed by almost a thousand workers. The letter was sent to the management and to the labour department. The management was then said to have identified workers who had organized the meeting, herded them to a cabin separate from the factory, and beat them. Two of the workers were severely injured with one of them experiencing a spinal injury. Nine workers have lodged complaints,” PUCL said.